Alyce Cheska

Alyce Cheska

URBANA – Alyce Taylor Cheska, 91, of Clark-Lindsey Village, Urbana, passed away on Saturday (Oct. 6, 2012).

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, in the Huegy Lounge of Clark-Lindsey Village, 101 W. Windsor Road, Urbana. Rev. Dr. Katherine Kussmaul of the First Presbyterian Church in Urbana will officiate.

Alyce Cheska was born July 9, 1921, in Duluth, Minn. She pursued an academic professional career over 40 years. She attended the University of Minnesota in both Duluth and Minneapolis.

She received her Ed.D. in higher education administration and physical education in 1960 from the University of California, Berkeley.

She was head of the Department of Women's Physical Education at a number of schools before coming to the University of Illinois in 1966 to lead the Women's Physical Education Department.

Prior to her retirement in 1987, she was also an affiliate professor in the Department of Anthropology, specializing in the anthropology of play and sport. While at the UI she held various leadership positions, including faculty senate and serving as faculty representative for athletics for the UI to the Big Ten Conference and the NCAA. She received the Big Ten Athletic Conference award for outstanding service.

She is credited with numerous writings, including four books and over 140 research papers, book chapters, professional papers and presentations.

One of her books was used as a textbook in Japanese universities and another was the first volume of the UNESCO-sponsored Sport Science Studies of the International Council of Sports and Physical Education.

Alyce was a pioneer in women's physical education, holding various state and national offices including president of the American Association of Physical Education, Health, and Recreation. She was a nationally ranked basketball official from 1953 to 1965.

In her middle years, Alyce pursued her interest in painting and spent many summers in Nova Scotia where she had a cottage on the ocean. In addition to her painting pursuits there, she was active in the community, being part of many associations and committees. She loved lighthouses and painted many as part of her specialty in waterscapes.

She has had numerous solo and group art exhibitions in the United States and Canada, winning awards in juried and open art competitions.

Alyce Taylor Cheska was predeceased by her parents, James F. and Vergie Taylor, an infant brother and her sister Jessy Taylor Chapados.

Surviving relatives are a niece, Jessy Antoinette (Toni) Rossi and her children, Francesca Alyce and Victoria Marie Rossi of New Mexico and Tamara Dawn (Rossi) Tiefel of Virginia Beach, Va.; and a nephew, James Taylor Chapados of Eden, Vt.

Condolences may be offered at

Aimee McGuire wrote on October 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm

to the family of Alyce Cheska: I was a housekeeper at CLV for ten years. I started in 2000 in the skilled care unit and care for Miss Cheska's roommate, Beulah Drom. The following year I cleaned apartments. Miss Cheska's large white apartment was on my schedule. She was one of the few left to see me through brain surgery, etc. She would tell me I was one of her best clients. I have moved to Iowa last year and married. Seven paintings with her name on them came with me and I have them scattered throughout the house. Two of them define her: a painting of Chief Illiniwek (as she was a big Fighting Illini fan) and a couple of them feature lighthouses - her hobby. My thoughts and prayers are with her family during this time.